Summit County officials give guidance for community gatherings, cancel large events through May 1
FRISCO — The Summit County Public Health Department has issued guidance for local organizations hoping to host public events and gatherings, including whether to consider postponement or cancellations under the specter of a potential coronavirus outbreak locally.
To date, there has been just one recorded case of the disease in Summit County, and there has been no known community spread — defined as person-to-person transmission within a given community. Other mountain communities haven’t been as lucky, including Pitkin and Eagle counties, which have recorded a total of 21 presumptive cases combined.
With so many positive cases nearby, Summit officials announced Thursday that all government-sponsored events of 50 or more people will be canceled through May 1 at a minimum.
In addition to the county, towns including Blue River, Breckenridge, Dillon, Frisco and Silverthorne will cancel their large events. The towns also have been asked to cancel or postpone nonessential gatherings that don’t meet the 50-person threshold and to hold meetings remotely, according to the announcement.
For other local organizations, health officials are encouraging organizers to take COVID-19 transmission prevention into careful consideration when planning or hosting any community gatherings. While each organization will need to make a final decision on its own, the county has outlined a number of recommendations.
According to officials, organizers should consider whether the event is targeted toward at-risk populations — namely individuals over 60 years old and others with underlying health conditions. If so, organizers should be proactive in messaging to attendees before and during the event.
In addition to proper messaging, organizers also should be sure to provide additional signage about coughing and hand washing etiquette, facilitate routine cleaning and disinfection of surfaces, and provide supplies to guests like tissues, hand sanitizer or access to sinks for hand washing. Organizers also should direct potential attendees to reliable sources of updated information on COVID-19, including the state’s health department website.
Of course, each event will have unique considerations related to preventative measures — a 250 person business conference would necessitate different considerations than a ski team practice outdoors — and organizers should follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, available on the CDC website.
Summit County Public Health officials are strongly urging members of the public to help limit exposure by staying home if they are sick and not attending community events or going to work. And while canceling or postponing events can be difficult, the department recommends it to prevent the virus from spreading in Summit County.
Public health officials emphasized that residents and visitors can help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
“The actions of the towns and county will only be effective if our community members are working in partnership with us,” Frisco Town Manager Nancy Kerry said in a news release. “Every individual and family must take commonsense, science-based steps to protect themselves and, by extension, everyone in Summit County.”
Families or individuals sick at home and in need of food, medication or other essentials should contact the Summit County Community and Senior Center at 970-668-2940. For general information on COVID-19, call the state’s hotline at 303-389-1687 or 1-877-462-2911, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Stay home if you are sick
- If you are attending and begin to feel sick, remove yourself from the event and go home
- If you are well and plan to attend, wash your hands frequently, cover your cough or sneeze with your elbow or a tissue and be proactive to reduce the spread of the virus
- If you are 60 or older or have an underlying health condition (including heart disease, diabetes, chronic lung disease or cancer) and you contract COVID-19, you are at a higher risk for severe illness, complications and, in some cases, death
- Individuals 60 or older or with underlying health conditions should strongly consider canceling their attendance. If attendance is essential, consult a health care provider in advance for guidance
Source: Summit County Public Health
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